Twelfth Night Essay

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The use of language in Twelfth Night contributes to the sense of comedic festivity: much of the humor in the play centers on wordplay or choice of language. Feste and Viola both use words skillfully, revealing only as much as they choose to reveal. Some critics, such as Yumi Murakami, have examined the relationship between wordplay and characterization. Murakami argues that wordplay is used by Viola, Olivia, and Maria to engage their wit and intellect; by Feste to express humor and sarcasm; and by Orsino as a means of presenting his poetry. Other critics, including Terrence Eagleton, have analyzed the destructive nature and power of language in Twelfth Night.

Critics take different views on whether the characters' speeches and messages communicate the truth or not. Ralph Berry contends that most of the acts of communications in Twelfth Night serve only to reinforce the characters' fantasies and convey no...

(read more from the Critical Essay #5 section)

This section contains 2,081 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Twelfth Night Study Guide
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Shakespeare for Students
Twelfth Night from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.